Phillies

Phillies 14, Mets 3: 10-run first inning sets tone for blowout

Phillies 14, Mets 3: 10-run first inning sets tone for blowout

BOX SCORE

The Phillies threw a party in the first inning Tuesday night and everybody at sold-out Citizens Bank Park had a good time.

Except for Steven Matz.

The Phillies scored 10 runs in the first inning en route to a 14-3 win over the New York Mets. Matz, the Mets’ starter, faced eight batters and did not get an out before exiting the game.

The Phillies sent 14 men to the plate in their festive first inning. They stroked six extra-base hits, including three-run homers by Scott Kingery and Maikel Franco. J.T. Realmuto had a pair of two-run doubles in the inning. The Mets made three errors in the inning.

The victory improved the Phillies to 10-6. The Mets are 10-7.

The keys

• The Phillies capitalized on Mets’ mistakes right out of the chute. Shortstop Amed Rosario made the first of his two first-inning errors on a ground ball by leadoff man Andrew McCutchen. Jean Segura then doubled and Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Realmuto followed with a two-run double. Kingery then hit the next pitch for a three-run homer.

• Later in the first inning, the Phils capitalized on more Mets mistakes when Franco followed a walk and an error with his three-run homer. He leads the team with six homers.

• Kingery has made the most of limited playing time. In addition to his three-run homer, he had a single and two-run double while playing third base and shortstop. He was also plunked by a pitch in the eighth inning. Manager Gabe Kapler has talked a lot recently about getting Kingery more playing time. It could come at second, third or even in center field. Kingery is earning the time. Over his last seven games, he is 11 for 17 (.647) with four doubles, a homer and five RBIs.

Pivetta's night

Given how poorly Nick Pivetta had pitched in his first three outings, this was probably a small step in the right direction. He pitched five innings and gave up three runs. However, he needed 100 pitches to complete the five innings and he surrendered two homers. Pivetta did a good job getting a double-play ball to get out of first-inning trouble.

Pivetta still has a ways to go and he needs to deliver because the Phils called up Jerad Eickhoff earlier in the day and he delivered four shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out six. Sure, Eickhoff’s performance came in a blowout, but he can put some pressure on people if he continues to get outs.

Health check

Rhys Hoskins rested his swollen left ankle. There’s a chance he could play on Wednesday. More on that here.

Segura left the game after the first inning with left hamstring tightness. Kingery, who started at third, moved to short and Franco, who started at first, moved to third. Andrew Knapp took over at first.

Up next

The series concludes Wednesday afternoon with Jake Arrieta getting the start against Zack Wheeler.

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Joe Girardi doesn't see penalty for Astros players as a deterrent

Joe Girardi doesn't see penalty for Astros players as a deterrent

The calls for Astros players to get suspended have gotten louder and louder as players have descended upon Florida and Arizona for spring training this past week. From Cody Bellinger to Mike Trout to Trevor Bauer to Nick Markakis and everywhere in between, players have made clear how angry they are about Houston's cheating scandal. 

It's going to take a long time for Astros players to gain back the respect of their peers.

It's not some easy fix, though. Astros players were granted immunity from discipline in order for their cooperation in MLB's investigation. MLB cannot, after the fact, revoke that immunity and decide to suspend players knowing what it now knows. That would never fly, and it shouldn't. Whether immunity should have been granted in the first place is the big question, but that point has passed.

Joe Girardi was asked on ESPN's Golic and Wingo Show Wednesday whether he thought MLB's punishment was sufficient.

The Phillies' first-year skipper doesn't think the current punishment serves as much of a deterrent.

"There are some people that lost their jobs that really were the people that had to pay for it, but there were a lot more people involved," Girardi said. "The financial gain for the players is substantial if they have big seasons because of this, so if there's no punishment for them, I'm not sure that it stops. I'm really not sure. Because the financial gain, similar to the steroid era, is very similar. If you know it's coming and you have a big year and you're a free agent, there's a lot (of money) to be made there and players want to take care of their families.

"I'm not exactly sure what the right answer is, but I don't know how much of a deterrent it is for players right now. There's not a huge deterrent for the players and I think there has to be to make sure that it stops."

People made fun of commissioner Rob Manfred for saying this but it should be acknowledged that the public ridicule the Astros are feeling right now will actually serve as some sort of deterrent. That doesn't mean MLB made the right call, that their decision-making process has been sound or that Manfred has done himself any favors publicly. But the disrespect factor around the league and around the country is real. Guys like Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer, even a Justin Verlander — will they ever again command the respect they did before this? This is a permanent stain.

MLB recognized how difficult an investigation would have been without cooperation from key figures and went the route of immunity. It's a decision that will be questioned for years.

"If you're not in the clubhouse and you don't admit yourself that you did it, how do you take the word from another player that he was doing it? That's the hard part," Girardi said. "Like, if you get caught with something on your body, that to me definitely should be a suspension and a huge fine. But to say that someone was using it, it's his word against his word, that's pretty tough to penalize a player."

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A small step in Phillies camp for pitching prospect Spencer Howard

A small step in Phillies camp for pitching prospect Spencer Howard

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Spencer Howard, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, returned to a bullpen mound Wednesday and threw 27 pitches.

Ordinarily, a bullpen session in spring training is not news, but Howard had temporarily stopped his bullpen work after sustaining a minor knee injury — manager Joe Girardi called it a "tweak" — 10 days earlier.

Howard threw all of his pitches during the bullpen session as a gaggle of fans watched at Carpenter Complex.

"I only saw two pitches," said Girardi, who was busy bouncing around four fields. "But he felt great. That's the important thing."

Girardi said there was no timetable for when Howard would pitch in a Grapefruit League game. The Phillies are on record as saying they will take things slowly with Howard in the early part of the season. The 23-year-old right-hander is on an innings/workload limit this season and the Phillies would like to get a good chunk of those innings in the big leagues.

"Spencer has an innings limit so we have to think about this because we believe at some point he's going to play a role for us," Girardi said earlier in camp. "We can't go wear him out by June so we have to think about that. We're not going to waste a lot of innings in spring training."

It's possible that the Phillies could hold Howard back in extended spring training in the month of April so they can maximize his innings later in the season.

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